How to Bargain and Save Money on Almost Anything

how to bargain
Call it what you wish…bargaining, negotiating, haggling – it's all about getting the best deal, and it's not the American way. Elsewhere in the world, bargaining is expected, but we Americans aren't comfortable with this practice. We see the price tag, we pay the price.

Maybe it's time to take a money-saving hint from abroad. Maybe it's time we learned how to bargain.

How to Bargain and Save Money on Almost Anything

It's easy and more common at garage sales, flea markets and car dealers to bargain, but the same principles can be applied to shopping at the mall. Follow these tips to learn how to bargain and chances are you'll pay less than sticker price.

  • Don't let the salesperson know you've fallen head over heels in love with the item…contain your excitement!
  • Use your smartphone to see if the same item is being sold for less elsewhere. Apps like RedLaser let you scan the barcode to find out!
  • Are there any defects on the item? Last week at Pier 1, I pointed out a few scratches on a floor model bookshelf and asked for a discount. The result? I saved 30% off the sale price! Marshalls, Homegoods and TJ Maxx are very good about discounting damaged merchandise IF you ask.
  • Ask if there is a sale coming up or a coupon you could use.
  • Be prepared to walk away. This is the hardest part (especially when you really, really want the item), but as you get close to the door, the salesperson might just remember a special discount they can give you!

Cell Phone Bills, Cable/Satellite Bills
Just before your contract is up, do a little research and compare competitors rates. Then, armed with this great information, call your current provider and start negotiating. Last month, I called Comcast because our 2-year contract was almost up. I'd discovered that they were offering a really good deal for new customers, but not for existing customers. I simply told the representative that it's a game. I'd be better off leaving Comcast, taking advantage of Dish Network's new customer deal and then coming back to Comcast in 2 years to get their new customer deal. Guess what…I stayed with Comcast because they offered me the same deal as a new customer. The moral of this story? Ask and ye just might receive. Don't ask and you'll never know.

Hair and Nail Salons
If you're a regular customer of a hair or nail salon, it's worth asking if they would charge less if you scheduled your appointments on a slow day. Most salons are totally booked in the evenings and on Saturdays, but empty in the morning especially early in the week. They'd be delighted to fill those empty slots, and you'd be delighted to pay less. Again, it doesn't hurt to ask.


image courtesy of digitalart,

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